OER: The New Critical Success Factor for Improving Student Learning

Dr. Paul Dale from paradise Valley Community College compared the textbook model to the ‘heat seeking’ model where these faculty adopt the OER model. The latter is much more than making textbooks available freely. It includes sharing a variety of online resources.

What does an early adopting college look like? Too much for one college to do on their own. Need to facilitate engagement from faculty at a national and even international level. The notion is that students no longer pay for textbook resources. Studies have shown that statistically there was no difference between traditional textbook and the use of free OER materials. However, instructor’s do need to supplement the online OER materials, at this early stage in the OER movement. A big motivation is the increasing cost of traditional texts. Students like the free aspect of OER. Some older students want printed materials.

Librarians are blending OER materials with Ebsco subscribed materials to create one click access to materials for students. Students are finding that these librarian developed materials are much more engaging than traditional materials.

Students can also be involved in creating OER materials through a wiki. These include links to relative and timely materials.

A key to this can be competency and outcome based curriculum. Just because you are using the same textbooks in a course, does not mean students reach the same level of understanding.

Students can be presenting information back to us that includes more than just a Word document.

The problem can be that all the ancillary materials that textbook publishers make available are not yet available via OER. For me, the MathXL materials that come with our text are very valuable. Would the publisher be willing to u bundle those from their textbooks?

How do we do quality control, particularly when the majority of faculty at American colleges are adjunct faculty (i.e., not continuing)? The key is collaborating with larger consortiums.